I woke up late in the morning, and after eating some breakfast and spending a bit of time on the computer, Brenda, Antonio and I took the car/train ride into Milano. It was around 2 pm when I finally set out of the city on my way to Lodi.
Definitely one of the most ugly and difficult runs that I have had thus far. Italy is not really made for pedestrian traffic, and I followed a highway out of the city, coughing through the dust and smog with the exhaust of the passing cars increasing the heat of the already incredibly hot weather. People said that Italy would be hot. I didn't think it would happen right away.
After maybe 8 km, I hit a part of the highway that had an obvious no pedestrian sign, and considering that there wasn't a space at all for a pedestrian, I decided to obey it. The only problem was that there wasn't really any other option of getting to Lodi (I starting singing my own version of the CCR song, where I was stuck on the way to "Lodi"). There was a few kilometers in there of hopping over jersey barriers and fences, crossing train tracks, running through fields, getting my legs cut by little plants (hoping there was nothing poisonous)...trying to fill the voids between roads that didn't connect, hoping they were roads that I could run on. Eventually, I got back onto a busy (but possible) road, and ran along its side for maybe the first 20 km. It felt like the hottest day that I have had so far, and the general traffic/road/air quality made me feel like I was back running in Thailand...maybe worse. Eventually, I found the option of taking a slightly longer smaller road, which actually had a bike lane, and the rest of the run was quite alright. I stopped a couple kilometers outside of town in a grocery store, completely wiped out and feeling like death. I took a photo of my terrible condition, but accidentally deleted it. After three boxed chocolate milks and a bottle of sports drink, I felt a little better and wandered the rest of the way into town. I checked my phone, and by some chance I had managed to put "Lodi" on it (the only CCR song I had), so I listened to the song on repeat until I arrived, hoping that I wouldn't get stuck in Lodi. I think it was the second time that I have listened to my music in the last two months.
I started my usual wandering about town, and after making a couple loops I stopped to ask a couple sitting in the park for some advice on a restaurant and somewhere that I might be able to find a shower and a place to sleep. After talking for a bit, they informed me that they lived quite a ways from the town (in a little town that I had run through on the way to Lodi), but that they were going to a nearby bar later to meet some friends, and that I should go there after dinner to see if I could find something. So that is what I did. I had a cheap plate of spaghetti and a salad, and headed over to Wellington Pub on the edge of town. The bar had an awesome atmosphere, and I was quickly introduced to a huge group of awesome young people, with pretty similar interests in art, architecture, and music as me. Tired as I was, I stayed out until 2 am talking with so many people. One of the guys worked for the local paper, and did an impromptu interview. Some of the conversations I had really made me laugh. I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing the ideas that people in other countries have of America, or having them explain the realities behind my ideas of their country. Around 2 am, Matteo and Mattea (difficult to not get the names mixed up) brought me to their art studio where I could shower and sleep for the night. One is a photographer and the other an artist, and the place was full of some pretty cool work. They locked me in, and I took a quick shower in a crazy (sink level) tub and went to sleep on the couch, excited for the coming day.
26 July 2009